Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography The Roman Emperors

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Here beginneth the Eighth Series, which passeth from the Kings of the pagan Greeks to the Kings of the Rhomaye.

THE sovereignty of the PTOLEMIES, that is to say GREEKS, having come to an end in EGYPT also, the whole of EGYPT and the whole of SYRIA came under the dominion of the RHOMAYE.


After CLEOPATRA [came] AUGUSTUS CAESAR, and whilst reigning over EGYPT he was named ‘SEBASTUS’; and also [the month] of SEKSTILIS was called ‘AUGUSTUS’. And in [his] eighteenth year AUGUSTUS sent TIBERIUS, the captain of [his] host, to ARMENIA, and he subjugated it. And HEROD built SHAMRIN (SAMARIA), and in honour of SEBASTUS called it ‘SEBASTIA’. And he also built the Tower of ‘ESTRATON (TURRIS STRATONIS)and named it ‘CAESAREA’, and he also built GABHALA in GALILEE. And in the forty-third year of AUGUSTUS, which is the thirty-third year of HEROD, and the three hundred and ninth year of the GREEKS, on the twenty-fifth day of the month of the FIRST KANON (DECEMBER), on the night of the dawn of the third [day of the week], our Lord JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, was born in the flesh of the VIRGIN MARY, the daughter of DAVID; and that year entered (i.e. began) on the second day of the week. And in that year KEURINOS (CYRENIUS), the governor, was sent by the Senate of ROME to levy poll-tax of the JEWS because GALILEAN JUDAH had rebelled, and many of the JEWS said, [46] ‘It is not right to pay poll-tax to Caesar’, and, ‘to make for ourselves lords who are mortal’.

And thirty years after this, on the fourth day of the week, on the sixth day of the LATTER KANON (JANUARY), Christ was baptized by JOHN in the JORDAN. And when our Lord in the flesh was two years old, and JOSEPH and MARY were going up from NAZARETH to JERUSALEM and they came to BETHLEHEM, the MAGI came, and there they bowed down in homage to Him. And by night they departed to Egypt, and they lived there for two years, until HEROD died, and then they returned. Now when the Holy Virgin gave birth to Him she was thirteen (or, fifteen) years old, and she died when she was fifty-one (or. sixty-three) years old. LONGINUS, the Roman sage, wrote to CAESAR concerning the coming of the MAGI, saying, ‘PERSIANS from the east have travelled and come to thy kingdom, and they have brought offerings to a child who hath been born in JUDAH, but who he is, and whose Son he is, we have not yet heard’. And AUGUSTUS sent [an answer saying], ‘HEROD, the Satrap, whom we have left there, shall make known to us who he is’. And as for the year of the birth of our Lord, although writers (or, historians) have stated it differently, we find that it was only the three hundred and ninth year of the GREEKS (1), which began on the second day of the week–besides the other things which they wrote. And HEROD having slain the children of BETHLEHEM and the borders thereof, the Lord smote him; he suffered sorely for two years and died aged seventy years.

And AUGUSTUS set up ARCHELAUS his son, who reigned nine years. And having committed an act of folly he was banished to BHINAN (VIENNA), a city of the GALSINE (GAULS). And then AUGUSTUS set up the four governors, TETRARCHS, HEROD, and ANTIPATER, and PHILIP–these then were brothers of ARCHELAUS–and the fourth was LYSANIUS, the alien. And in the same year AUGUSTUS died.


After AUGUSTUS CAESAR, TIBERIUS CAESAR [reigned] twenty-three years. And in his fourteenth year PILATE, the governor, was sent to the JEWS, and he was Prefect over them. And he introduced the statue of CAESAR into [47] the Temple, and [thus] stirred up the JEWS to revolt. And besides this he expended all the treasure of the priests when the aqueduct came into [the city], which became the cause of the second revolt.

And in the nineteenth year of TIBERIUS, ABHGAR, king of URHAI (EDESSA), sent a certain painter, whose name was JOHN, the tabellarius, and he painted a portrait of our Lord JESUS upon a tablet, and brought [it] to ABHGAR. And ABHGAR also sent [a letter] to our Lord by the hands of HANANYA, saying, ‘I have heard that mighty deeds flow from thee, and that thou effectest healings without medicines. Therefore thou must either be God Himself, who hath come down from heaven, or the son of God. Because of this I have written [and] I have asked thee to trouble thyself to come to me and heal the sickness which is in me. Moreover I have also heard that the JEWS are jealous (or, envious) of thee, and that they murmur complainingly concerning thee, and are very wishful to do thee an injury. Now have a small and beautiful city, and it will suffice for the two [of us].’

And our Lord made answer to him, saying, ‘Blessed is he who hath believed in me, though he hath not seen me! And as concerning what thou hast written, that I should come to thee. A course of life and action is [laid] upon me, and it is meet that I should fulfil in this place that on account of which I have been sent, and I shall be taken up to Him who hath sent me. But 1 will send unto thee immediately one of my disciples who shall heal thy sickness, and shall give life unto thee and unto those who are with thee’.

And in the nineteenth year of TIBERIUS Our Redeemer suffered, and died, and was buried, and rose up again, and ascended into heaven. And on the day of Pentecost a great quaking seized the priests of the JEWS, who heard a voice from the inside of the Temple, saying, ‘We must depart from this place’. And ABHGAR of EDESSA, wrote to TIBERIUS concerning everything Which the JEWS did to Christ. And the Emperor replied, ‘Behold, because of this I have dismissed PILATE in disgrace, and I will take vengeance on the JEWS’. And HEROD the Tetrarch, who was also named ‘ANTPATOS (ANTIPATRUS)–now, he was the son of HEROD, the slayer of the children–killed JOHN. And he took to wife HERODIAS, the wife of his brother, whilst her husband was still living. And he was sent into exile with HERODIAS, and both he and she were killed in the city of BAWINNA (WINNA?).

The years from ADAM to the year in which our Redeemer suffered, make a total of five thousand five hundred and thirty-nine years, and that year began on the First Day of the Week (Sunday). According to HIPPOLYTUS, and JOHN, and MAR JACOB, the total is five thousand five hundred and fifty years; according [48] to EUSEBIUS five thousand two hundred, and thirty-two; according to the SYRIANS four thousand one hundred and fifty-six; according to AFRICANUS, five thousand five hundred and thirty-two; and according to others five thousand three hundred and twenty years; and in the chronology which many hold to, five thousand five hundred and nine (nineteen?); and according to ANDRONICUS, it was in the year three hundred and forty-two of the GREEKS (A.D. 31).


After TIBERIUS CAESAR, GAIUS CAESAR [reigned] four years. That AGRIPPA, who was called ‘HEROD’, was the son of ARISTOBULUS, the son of HEROD, the slayer of the children, by MARY, the daughter of HYRCANUS, the chief of the priests. When in the days of TIBERIUS he went up to ROME to lay an accusation against HEROD the Tetrarch, that is to say, ANTIPATOS(ANTIPATRUS), he was put in prison. And whilst he was fettered he used to pray that GAIUS might become king. Therefore when GAIUS reigned he gave him the principalities of PHILIP and of LUSANIA, and because of this HERODIAS cursed HEROD ANTIPATOS (ANTIPATRUS), saying that, because she had not gone to Caesar ‘thou hast been deprived of governorship. For if AGRIPPA, who was of the common folk, became a governor, how much more ought thou, who wast of the tetrarchship, to become one?’ And because of this, when GAIUS went up to ROME to receive the kingdom, he was wroth, and he drove him forth into exile with his wife, and there they died. And when this AGRIPPA reigned, in his first year, he slew JAMES, not the brother of our Lord [but the son of ZABHDAI (ZEBEDEE)], of whom PAUL maketh mention [I Cor. xv. 7]; and he was crowned (i.e, martyred) on a cork tree, and not by the sword of AGRIPPA.

And at that time FELIX, the Eparch of EGYPT, was sent, and he afflicted the JEWS for seven years. and because of this ambassadors were sent to GAIUS that they might break him, namely JOSEPHUS, the wise man, and PHILO the Hebrew philosopher, who was from ALEXANDRIA. And GAIUS in his fourth year commanded PATRONUS, the Eparch of SYRIA, to set up images of himself in the Temple and in the synagogues of the JEWS, and thus was fulfilled what DANIEL [wrote] concerning the polluted sign which stood in the Holy Place [Daniel xi. 3 I I. And when AGRIPPA had reigned in his kingdom for three full years he came to CAESAREA, and made a festival of theatricals representing the life of CAESAR. And on the second day of the theatricals he put on a garment in which was sewn silver [threads], and he came in the dawn to the theatre, and when the first rays of the sun fell [49] upon the silver it sparkled in a most wonderful fashion, whereupon his adulators called him ‘God’. And because he did not restrain them he was smitten with a stroke, and after five days he came to an end.


After GAIUS CAESAR, CLAUDIUS CAESAR [reigned] fourteen years. In his time a revolt took place in JERUSALEM, on the day of the feast of the Passover. And whilst the people were crowded together in a dense mass at the exits of the Temple three myriads of JEWS were trampled under foot, each by the other, and died. And a great famine took place throughout the inhabited world, and the prophecy of ‘AGHABHOS (Agabus), which is in the Book of PRAXIS [Acts xi. ~8; xxi. 10], was fulfilled. And the disciples who were in ANTIOCH, according to the sufficiency which was in their hands, divided up their possessions and sent [gifts] to the poor who were in JERUSALEM. And PHILO, the wise man, met the apostle PETER when he was preaching in ROME, and he wrote about those who became disciples of the Faith which is in our Lord, and who had stripped themselves of the possessions and anxiety of [this] world. None of them ate food before the sun set. They adjudged the cultivation of wisdom to be like unto the light, and the necessary care and use of the body to be like unto darkness. Some among them only ate food every second day, and some only every third day, and there were others who only ate every sixth or seventh day.

At this time a certain EGYPTIAN, a lying prophet, came to JUDEA, and he led astray after him three myriads of men. And having marched them round in the desert he brought them to the MOUNT OF OLIVES, and he wished to take JERUSALEM. Then came FELIX and a battle took place, and the EGYPTIAN fled and his force perished. And because of this it was said to PAUL by the Chiliarch, ‘Wert not thou thyself that Egyptian?’ [Acts xxi. 38], &c.


After CLAUDIUS CAESAR, NERO CAESAR [reigned] fourteen years. He sent FESTUS and dismissed FELIX. And he was the first one who set up the persecution of the Christians in which PETER and PAUL testified in ROME and were crowned (i.e. suffered martyrdom). In the thirteenth year of NERO the JEWS rebelled, and NERO sent [against them] VESPASIAN and TITUS his son. And in one year, in the month of HAZIRAN (JUNE), TITUS captured the city of YOTOPATA (IOTOPATA) because he heard that JOSEPHUS, the scribe, the son of MATTAI the priest, who was the captain of the host of the JEWS, was there. And when he was taken he prophesied concerning the death of [50] NERO and who was going to reign after him. Therefore TITUS did not kill him. Now this JOSEPHUS was not KAYAFA (CAIAPHAS), as some men have thought, for CAIAPHAS was also called JOSEPHUS.

And after these things the ROMANS encircled JERUSALEM, and whilst VESPASIAN was occupied in the war against JERUSALEM, the report of the death of NERO arrived, and of the tyrant OTHO, who stood for three months, and he killed him, and of VITALLIANUS, the tyrant, who stood for eIght months. Him the ROMANS slew in the middle of the city. Then the Roman troops who were with VESPASIAN proclaimed him king, and he committed the war against JERUSALEM to TITUS his son, who went to ALEXANDRIA and subjugated it, and [then] departed by sea to ROME.


After NERO CAESAR, VESPASIAN CAESAR [reigned] ten years. It was he who built the CAPITOLIUM. And he made the CIRCUS in ALEXANDRIA, the length of which was one hundred and twenty-five feet. And TITUS his son, on the fourteenth day of the month of NISAN (APRIL), in the three hundred and eighty-second year of the GREEKS (i.e. A.D. 71), encamped against JERUSALEM; he captured it on the eighth day of the month of ILOL (SEPTEMBER), and destroyed it completely in the second year of VESPASIAN. He burnt the Temple on the tenth day of the month of ‘AB (AUGUST), before the city was captured, the same day on which the Temple was burnt in the days of ZEDEKIAH. From ADAM to this final overthrow was five thousand four hundred and thirty-seven years, but according to others five thousand two hundred and three years. And from the building of the Temple to the destruction thereof was ten hundred and ninety-five years, and from the year of the PASSION forty years. And, according to others, five thousand five hundred and eighty-five years, and after the PASSION thirty-three years, in the year of the GREEKS three hundred and twenty-three (2).

And if, as JOSEPHUS saith, the Passover took place on the twelfth day of NISAN (APRIL), and the Resurrection on the fifteenth day, it must be the three hundred and eighty-first year of the GREEKS. And how many people perished therein! This same JOSEPHUS saith, ‘On the day of the Passover they offered up two hundred and fifty thousand rams, and around each ram twenty men were gathered together. And these were people ceremonially pure, for the unclean, and the people with fluxes, and the children did not eat. Sixty thousand men were killed in the war, and one million one hundred thousand perished through hunger, [51] and one hundred thousand people were sold as slaves, and the rest were distributed about as menials for service. This is the terrible calamity which came to the JEWS in JERUSALEM. As concerning the great tribulation which took place in the city, and the calamities which the JEWS suffered in bondage, JOSEPHUS describes very many of them, the which a small treatise like this cannot contain.


After VESPASIAN, TITUS his son [reigned] two years. The Senate proclaimed this man to be ‘God’, and having accepted the proclamation which thus styled him, he died suddenly.


After TITUS CAESAR, DOMITIAN CAESAR, his brother, [reigned] sixteen years. This Emperor drove the CHALDEANS and the philosophers out of ROME, and he commanded that no vine should be planted in the city, and he prohibited the castration of the male. CORNELIA, the priestess, a virgin, was accused ot unchastity, and she was buried alive. And as the Gospel of CHRIST was increasing mightily, PATROPILOS (PATROPHILUS) the philosopher said unto URSINOS his master, ‘What is this? THEODORE, the chief of the sages in ATHENS, and AFRICANUS, the Alexandrian philosopher, and MARTINUS irom BADU (BARDU?), and many others worship a man who was crucified, and though they are not rewarded with riches, they are mighty in word and deed.’ And he replied, ‘Yea, even the gods and their priests become disciples of His. The fact that His disciples do not give themselves up to the hateful habits of sin testifieth that their doctrine is the best of all doctrines.’ And when DOMITIAN heard these things he marvelled, and he brought the persecution to an end. At this time APOLLONIUS, that is PILARE (PHILARIUS), exhibited talismatas (i.e. the art of magic), and he performed everything by means of devils, and he used to say, ‘Woe is me! For the Son of MARY hath obtained pre-eminence over me “(or, anticipated me).


After DOMITIAN CAESAR, NERVA CAESAR [reigned] one year. Then he fell sick, and his body rotted, and he died in the garden of SALLUST.


After NERVA CAESAR, TRAJAN CAESAR [reigned] nineteen years. He stirred up the persecution of the Christians in which SIMON, the son of CLEOPHAS of JERUSALEM, and JOHN the Apostle, and IGNATIUS of ANTIOCH were crowned (i.e. suffered martyrdom), and PLINIUS SECUNDUS, the Eparch, killed many Christians. And when he saw how many they were, he was greatly troubled, and he wrote [52] to TRAJAN, saying, ‘No other offence can be urged against the Christians except that they do not wish to offer sacrifice to idols; they abhor adultery and murder and every disgraceful act’. And when CAESAR learned these things he commanded that they should not be searched for, but that whenever anyone of them was discovered he should be proceeded against until he offered sacrifice. And in the tenth year of TRAJAN, GALEN the physician was born, and at the end of his reign the JEWS who were in CYPRUS uprooted the city of SALOMONI (SALAMINA), and slew the GREEKS (YAWNAYE) who were therein. And the JEWS also who were in LYDIA stirred up to revolt the GREEKS who were therein, and thus also did the JEWS who were in CYRENAICA, and in THEBES (THEBAID?), and in ALEXANDRIA and in BETH NAHRIN (MESOPOTAMIA). And the JEWS who were in EGYPT rebelled, and set up for themselves a king whose name was LUMPIS, and he governed them and came to JUDEA. Now the JEWS conquered in every place. And BASILIDES, the head of the heresy of the GNOSTICS, that is to say, the worshippers of the serpent, became celebrated.


After TRAJAN CAESAR, HADRIAN CAESAR [reigned] twenty-one years. When he reigned, he abolished liability for debts, and he remitted many tributes to many peoples, and he burnt the documents on which the debts (or, liabilities) of cities were recorded. In the fourth year of his reign the sovereignty of EDESSSA ceased, and governors administered affairs there as in every other place. And in his fifth year he brought the river PISOS (KEPISOS to ‘ALOSINA, and made for it a bridge, and he wintered in ATHENS.

And in his time there became famous CLAUDIUS PTOLEMY the astronomer, who made the Book of MAGISTI and called it ‘SYNTAXIS’; and GALEN, the physician, who learoed and taught, and SECUNDUS, the silent philosopher. [At the last named] HADRIAN marvelled, and wished to break his silence, but SECUNDUS maintained it until his death.

And a certain Jew , whose name was BAR KAWKEBHA, rebelled in JUDEA, and he used to carry off and kill those who would not agree with him. The Emperor sent troops and destroyed the JEWS; and he uprooted JERUSALEM thoroughly. And they built there a city and called it ‘HELlOS HADRIANUS’, and they settled aliens therein. And he bound the ears of the JEWS, and he made a law that they were not to look upon that place, even from a distance. [53] And the Christian philosophers KURTOS (QUADRATUS?) and ARISTIDES, the ATHENIANS, wrote an Apologia for the doctrine of the Christians. And SAYRAINOS (SERENUS) the governor wrote to the Emperor [saying], ‘It is not right to kill them merely because of the name Ch;istian, without any blameworthy act’; and the Emperor wrote, ‘Unless there is a reason for condemnation they shall not die’. And in his days the First Council in NICEA was gathered together, namely forty-three bishops; and they excommunicated SABELLIUS, who said, ‘One Person of the Trinity’, and VALENTlNUS, who confessed that our Lord brought a body for Himself from heaven.


After HADRIAN CAESAR, TITUS ANTONINUS CAESAR, who was called EUSEBIUS, and was named ‘Righteous’ and ‘Father of the Country’–he and his sons [reigned] twenty-two years. This Emperor commanded that the Christians should not be persecuted. And in his time GALEN flourished. And that he did not live in the time of our Lord, as some men think, is known from GALEN’S own words. For he saith in the beginning of the First Chapter, which treateth of fissures (or, wounds), ‘I composed the first book of fissures when I went up. to ROME the first time’. And he saith also in his exposition of PLATO’S Book of PEDON (PHAEDO), ‘We have seen these men who are called “NAZRAYE” (NAZARENES), who found their Faith upon Divine indications (or, inspirations) and miracles, and they are in no wise inferior to those who are in truth philosophers. For they love purity (or, chastity), and they are constant in Fasting, and they are zealous in avoiding the committal of wrong, and there are among them some who during the whole course of their lives never indulge in carnal intercourse. I say that this is a sign of the monastic life which became famous after the Ascension of our Lord, during the period of one hundred years’. Now the total of the years from the Ascension of our Lord to the death of GALEN, according to the accurate opinion of chronographers, is one hundred and sixty years.

Now this GALEN came from the city of PERGAMUS, and he wrote many books on the craft of the physician. and of these about one hundred works are extant. He revived the Hippocratic system of medicine which had fallen into disuse (or , become antiquated). And when he was told about the mighty deeds and healings which [54] CHRIST, our Lord, used to do, he said, ‘I have no doubt whatsoever that He doeth these things by means of the Divine Power’. And he asked, ‘Doth any man of His disciples still remain?’ And it was ‘told him, ‘Such remaineth in JERUSALEM’; and he rose up to go to JERUSALEM. And when he arrived in SICILY he died there at the age of eighty-eight years. And at the beginning [of his career] GALEN became a pupil of ‘ELYANOS (AELIANUS) the physician, who, a pestilence having broken out among the people of ANTIOCH, took ‘theriake’ and went there, and made the people drink it. And of those who drank it after they had fallen sick some were saved and some of them perished; and of those who drank before the sickness [attacked them] all of them escaped.

CLAUDIUS PTOLEMY [wrote] many books on the science of astronomy, and of these the most famous are the great Book of SYNTAXIS, and the Book of GEOGRAPHY, and the Book of FRUIT, and the Book of ASTROLOGY in four discourses. He was the first who made the planisphere, i.e. the brazen sphere which was the similitude of the heavens. At this time flourished ALEXNDER, the APHRODISITE, who translated the books of ARISTOTLE; now his translations were very famous among the GREEKS, and they still are among the SYRIANS and SARACENS (or, Arabs). And many disputatioris, and debates, and investigations are attributed to him and to GALEN. And he gave GALEN the nickname of ‘mule-head’, because of the strength of his head at the time of disputation and debate. THEON, the geometrician, the ALEXANDRIAN, also lived at this time. He was the author of some books which are famous throughout nearly the whole world, viz. the Book of the WORKING OF THE BRAZEN CIRCLES, by means of which the observations of stellar motions are perfected, and the Book of the CANON, by means of which one placeth the observations of the changing reckoning of the tropical positions face to face with those which cleave thereto every eighty years one degree, up to eight divisions and then come back. This was not thought possible by PTOLEMY because, with the exception of this addition. the reckonings (or, computations) agree with the indications which are made by means of the instruments for observations. [And THEON also wrote] the Book of ISAGOGE, that is to say, an introduction to the Syntaxis of PTOLEMY.


After TITUS ANTONlNUS CAESAR, MARCUS AURELIUS CAESAR, and his sons, [reigned] [55] nineteen years. In the beginning of his reign WALGASH, king of the PARTHIANS, laid waste many of the provinces of the ROMANS, and the sons of MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONlNUS and LUCIUS went and brought the PARTHIANS into subjection. And the ROMANS made war on the GARMANAYE, and the KWARAO (KODAYE?), and the SARMATAYE (SARMATIANS), and the DAKAS, and LUCIUS triumphed over them and was called ‘Autocrator’; and after nine years he died. Then ANTONINUS his brother associated his son COMMODUS with him in the kingdom; and ANTONINUS fell sick in PANNONIA and died. And his son COMMODUS, having ruled thirteen years, was strangled in the house of VESTILIANUS. And lightning fell on the Capitolium, and burnt up the Library, and the Palace, and the House of the Virgins.


After MARCUS CAESAR and his sons PERTINAX [reigned] six months, and was killed.


After PERTINAX CAESAR, SEVERIANUS CAESAR [reigned] eighteen years. In the first year of his reign a fierce war between the JEWS and the SAMARITANS took place, and from the ninth year of his reign to the end of his life he persecuted the Christians cruelly and continually, and many of them bore witness and were crowned (i.e. suffered martyrdom). And whilst marching against a barbarous people, who lived on the skirts of the mountains to the west [and] north, and who harried greatly the ROMANS who were on their borders, he died. In other manuscripts [it is said that] he was killed.


After SEVERIANUS CAESAR, ANTONINUS CAESAR his son [reigned] four (seven?) years. This Emperor removed the ban of exile on those who had been banished because of their Faith: he was killed in BETH NAHRIN MESOPOTAMIA) between HARRAN and EDESSA.


After ANTONINUS CAESAR, MACRINUS CAESAR [reigned] one year; and in that year the CIRCUSES of IPASTIA (HEPHAISTIA) which were in ROME were, burnt down, and he was killed in ‘ARKELAIS (ARCHELAIS).


After MACRINUS CAESAR, ANTONINUS CAESAR, who was from ALYOGALA (ALYOGABAL?), [reigned] four years. In his time NIKOPOLIS of PALESTINE, that is to say EMMAUS, was built; it stood on the building of JULIUS AFRICANUS the chronographer.


After ANTONINUS CAESAR, ALEXANDER CAESAR BAR MARNA [reigned] thirteen years. This MARNA believed on Christ, and helped the Christians greatly. In his third year, which is the year [56] five hundred and forty-two of the GREEKS, ‘ARDASHIR the son of PABAK, reigned over PERSIA, and another kingdom of the PERSIANS which is called BETH SASAN began, and it continued for four hundred and eighteen years, until the kingdom of the Arabs arose and ended it.


After ALEXANDER CAESAR, MAXIMlNUS CAESAR [reigned] three years. This Emperor, because of his hatred of his predecessor, stirred up a persecution of the Christians, and SERGIUS and BACCHUS, who had been sent to MESOPOTAMIA, and CYPRIAN the bishop and many others, bore witness and were crowned with martyrdom. [This went on] until MAXIMlNUS was killed in KWENA (AQUILEIA?).

(Continued on Next Page)

(1) Bedjan’s note reads, ‘Doctors agree general1y in stating that our Lord Jesus Christ was born in the three hundred and eleventh year of the Greeks, and we keep to this date throughout this book’.

  1. Bedjan does not accept these figures, for he considers them incorrect; he thinks that the correct number is either 373 or 383 years.

Bar Hebraeus’


The Roman Emperors (continued).


After MAXIMlNUS CAESAR, CORDIANUS CAESAR [reigned] six years, and he was killed on the borders of PERSIA. In his days MANI (MANES) was born.


After GORDIANUS CAESAR, PHILIP CAESAR [reigned] seven years. In his time the persecution of the Christians was stayed. And in his first year SHABHOR (SAPOR), the son of ‘ARDASHIR, reigned over the PERSIANS thirty-one years. And in his time the one thousand years from the building of ROME was completed. And beasts were slaughtered in the Great Circus during the celebration of the contest of One Thousand Years. And plays of a warlike character were performed at nights, there was a vigil of three days, and forty athletes (or, heroes), as in the nativity of ROME, ran. And the theatre of POMPEY and the ‘AKATOSTOLON, that is to say [the building of] six pillars, were burnt down. Now PHILIP his lord was killed by DAKYOS (DECIUS).


After PHILIP CAESAR, DECIUS CAESAR [reigned] one year. This Emperor persecuted the Christians greatly. And in his time the Seven Young Men fled from EPHESUS and hid themselves in a cave. And many [Christians] through fear of DECIUS denied CHRIST, and when he was killed and wrath died down, those who had apostatized came to ROME, and sought restoration to communion; but NABHATIS (NOVATUS?) used to say, ‘There is no forgiveness’; and he was called the ‘head of the KATHARO’ (the PURISTS).


After DECIUS CAESAR, the CAESARS CALLUS and VOLUSIANUS [reigned] two years, and they were killed in the Flamminian Way. At this time a destroying sickness broke out in the world, [57] especially in EGYPT.


After the CAESARS GALLUS and VOLUSIANUS, the CAESARS VALERIANUS and GALLINUS [reigned] fifteen years; they persecuted the Christians. And SAPOR, the son of ‘ARDASHiR, the king of the PERSIANS, laid waste SYRIA, and CILICIA and CAPPADOCIA. And the GHOTHAYE (GOTHS), having crossed the river of MABHYANOS (MABIOS?, DANUBE), carried off many of the governors into captivity. And VALERIANUS having been carried off into PERSIA, GALLINUS gave the Christians rest.


After GALLINUS CAESAR, CLAUDIUS CAESAR [reigned] two years. At [that] time BRAKYON was imprisoned in ALEXANDRIA. And being oppressed by the war CLAUDIUS died in SERMYON (SERMION), and the similitude of a crown was seen (or, appeared) in the heavens.


After CLAUDIUS CAESAR, AURELIAN CAESAR [reigned] six years. In his first year he defeated the PALMYRENIANS and subjugated the GALLAYE. And in his time MANI (MANES) became famous. And AURELIAN gave his daughter to SAPOR, and made peace with him. And SAPOR built for himself in PERSIA a city which was like CONSTANTINOPLE. And its name was GUNDISHABHOR and he made his Roman wife to live therein. And there came with her distinguished Greek physicians, and they sowed the system of medicine of HIPPOCRATES in the East. And there existed also excellent Syrian physicians, e.g. SERGIUS of RISH ‘AYN, who was the first to translate philoophical and medical works from Greek into Syriac; and ‘ATANOS (ATHANASIUS?) of AMID, and PHILAGRIUS, and SIMON the monk, whose goodness is well known, and GREGORY the bishop, and THEODOSIUS the Patriarch, and the excellent HUNAIN, the son of ISAAC. And there were many other physicians their successors, until the present day, and they were all 7 SYRIANS. AARON the priest, however, was not a SYRIAN, but GHOSIOS (GOSIUS), the ALEXANDRIAN, translated his book from Greek into Syriac. AURELIAN CAESAR built the wall of ROME, and whilst persecuting the Christians was struck by lightning and died.


After AURELIAN CAESAR, TAKITOS (TACITUS) CAESAR [reigned] six months, and was killed in PONTUS. At this time HORMIZD reigned in PERSIA.


After TACITUS CAESAR, FLORIANUS CAESAR [reigned] two months, and he also was killed–at TARSUS in CILICIA.


After FLORIANUS CAESAR, [58] PROBUS CAESAR [reigned] seven years. And in that year WARHARAN [reigned] in PERSIA three years, and after him his son reigned seventeen years. And SATURNINUS, the Eparch, wishing to rebel and to rule over the ROMANS, began to build ANTIOCH, and he was killed in APAMEA. And PROBUS CAESAR was also killed–in SERMION).


After PROBUS CAESAR, CARUS CAESAR [reigned] two years. CARUS died in BETH NAHRIN of SYRIA, and his son NUMERIANUS was killed in the country of AFRICA, and CARINUS, another son of his, was killed in the war with the GARMANAYE accidentally.


After CARUS CAESAR, DIOCLETIAN CAESAR [reigned] twenty years, and three others also reigned with him, viz. MAXIMlNUS, who gave his daughter to DIOCLETIAN, and was surnamed ‘HAIRKULYOS’, and the two of them ruled together in the East. And MAXENTIUS, the son of MAXIMIANUS, who ruled in ROME; and CONSTANTINTUS (CONSTANTIUS?) ruled in GALLIA and BRUTONIA. And the first year of DIOCLETIAN, which is the five hundred and ninety-fifth year of the GREEKS ( = A.D. 284), is the five thousand seven hundred and seventy-fifth year from ADAM–and with this [year] the reckoning of the EGYPTIANS beginneth.

At this time EGYPT rebelled, and the ROMANS went and subjugated it, and slew many. And in the eleventh year of DIOCLETIAN, NARSAI reigned in PERSIA seven years; and after him his son HORMIZD [reigned] five years. And in the nineteenth year of DIOCLETIAN, when the great Feast of the Passover was nigh at hand, he commanded that the churches of the Christians should be pulled down to [their very] foundations, and that the SCRIPTURES should be burnt in the fire, and that every one who would not offer sacrifice [to the gods] should die. And many chosen and mighty martyrs finished their course, [among them being] SERGIUS and BACCHUS. And he cut out the tongue of ROMANUS. And in his days NICOLAUS, the martyr, and ‘AZAZ’IL of SHAMISHAT (SAMOSATA), the splendid martyr, [were crowned].

Now DIOCLETIAN was smitten by the Lord, and his genital organs rotted. He perceived that it was a stroke from God, and therefore he wrote to every place [saying] that the Christians should continue to follow the usual course of their lives publicly, and should build their churches. [59] Now MAXIMIANUS, though unwilling, stopped the persecution. And after a short time he made a false proclamation, saying ‘that the gods had revealed to him that it was right for the Christians to be expelled from the towns into the villages’; and the persecution was stirred up again. God admonished the earth with famine and pestilence [so severely] that a modius of wheat was sold for two hundred and fifty menin, and ten corpses were cast into one grave. And whilst MAXIMIANUS was occupied in the war with the ARMENIANS, the rod of justice overtook him, and he was smitten with severe sickness, and he also died with DIOCLETIAN.


After DIOCLETIAN CAESAR and his associates, CONSTANTIUS [CHLORUS] THE GREAT (who in the days of DIOCLETIIAN was king in GALLlA, and he was the father of CONSTANTINE the victorious conqueror) [reigned]. When he reigned he had two wives; the one was HELENA, the mother of CONSTANTINE, the victorious conqueror, and the other was THEODORA, the daughter of the tyrant MAXIMIANUS. And SYLVESTER, the bishop of Rome, converted this Emperor, for he was a leper, and he believed and was baptized and was healed (1). Now, he reigned twelve years, and in the eighth year of his reign he associated his son CONSTANTINE with him in his kingdom.


After CONSTANTIUS THE GREAT, CONSTANTINE, the Conqueror, his son, [reigned] thirty-two years, besides the three years wherein he reigned conjointly with his father. He reigned in the six hundred and twenty-third year of the GREEKS (= A.D.312), which from ADAM was five thousand eight hundred and seventeen years, but other manuscripts say five thousand eight hundred and thirteen years. And in his second year SAPOR, the son of HORMiZD, reigned over the PERSIANS sixty-nine years. When this CONSTANTINE went to make war on the tyrant MAXENTIUS, he saw at midday a cross in the form of a pillar of light in the air, and on it were written letters which said, ‘By this thou shalt conquer’. And also in the night our Lord appeared to him, [60] and said, ‘Make for thyself according to the similitude which thou hast seen, and thou shalt conquer’. And having done [so] the tyrant MAXENTIUS was vanquished, and was drowned in the river DUNBIS (TIBRIS?). Then he was strengthened the more in his Faith, together with his wife, DIOKLAITYANA (2), the daughter of DIOCLETIAN the pagan.

In his third year he renewed (or, restored) the building of [the city of] BYZANTIA, and added four miles to it, and he removed the kingdom from ROME to this BYZANTIA. And he built therein a church to ElRENE, and another to the Twelve Apostles. And he made all the inhabitants thereof free men, and he swept away the idols, and he permitted no man who was pagan to serve. And Queen HELENA, his mother, went up to JERUSALEM and made search for the Cross of our Lord and found it; one portion of it she deposited in the Temple which she built over the Tomb [of our Lord]. and the remainder she sent to the Emperor. And in the time of CONSTANTINE the Victorious, the IBERIANS believed on CHRIST, and they sent to the Emperor, and received (or, welcomed) bishops and elders (or, priests), and they believed and were baptized. And the SARMATIANS, and the GOTHS, and the SCYTHIANS, after the Emperor had conquered them, believed and were baptized. And he built a great church over the BALUTA TREE (oak?) of MAMRE, where ABRAHAM received the revelation. And he also built a church in B’ELBAK (BAALBEK) of PHOENICIA, because the sons thereof lived in a state of great error. They had their wives in common, and the father of every one of them was unknown; but as soon as the bishop brought order among them, little by little they corrected their ways. And he built in ANTIOCH an octagonal Temple. He built a bridge over the river DUNBIS, and his troops passed over it, and he subjugated the SCYTHIANS, and brought [them] into the Faith.

He gathered together the World Council of Three Hundred and Eighteen [bishops, at NICEA], and they established the Faith in the six hundred and seventy-seventh year of the Greeks (3), and the Canons of the Fast and the Passover were set in order by him.

In his days SAPOR, king of PERSIA, persecuted the Christians who were in his dominions, and he also went up against NISIBIS, and returned therefrom [61] having been put to shame through the prayers of MAR JACOB and MAR APHREM, and in his wrath he took BETH NAHRIN and departed. CONSTANTINE, having gone forth to wage war against the PERSIANS arrived at NICOMEDIA and fell sick, and there he died. He made a Will and bequeathed the kingdom to his three sons, and he committed the Will to the hands of a certain priest [who was] an Arian. After his death his body was transported to CONSTANTINOPLE.

After CONSTANTINE the Victorious, his three sons [reigned] twenty-four years. CONSTANTINE the Victorious had three sons. The eldest [bore] the name of his father CONSTANTINE, the second was CONSTANTIUS, and the youngest was CONSTANS. During his lifetime he made his eldest son governor in CONSTANTINOPLE, and his second son ruled over ANTIOCH and all the East, and the youngest son ruled in ROME. And when the Victorious King died, the second son, since he was near at hand, came first and made a covenant with that Arian priest that he would persecute every one who said ‘son of the substance’ (i.e. consubstantial), and he delivered to him the Will, and he took his father, in a coffer of gold, into the city of royalty (i.e. the Capital).

And when SAPOR heard that the Victorious King was dead, he went up again against NlSIBIS, which stood on the boundary line of the ROMANS and PERSIANS, and was called ‘ANTIOCH of MYGDONIA’, and he oppressed (i.e. besieged) it for seventy days. And he built up mounds against it, and made a great dam against the current of the river MAGDONIUS, which entered into the city and divided itself in the middle thereof. And the waters thrust themselves against the wall which, being unable to withstand the strain, tottered and fell down. And whilst SAPOR was imagining that he could capture the city without [further] trouble, he saw another new wall which had been built up meanwhile (or, already), and also that the blessed man APHREM had gone up on the wall to curse the Barbarians. And APHREM prayed to God, and He brought upon them clouds of flies of all kinds and gnats, and the elephants were greatly afflicted thereby because their hides were dry and cracked. And the insects crawled into the nostrils and ears of the horses, and they broke their bridles and threw off their riders and stampeded. And SAPOR went back to PERSIA in shame.

And when CONSTANTINE the oldest brother, (who ruled in the] royal city, came against CONSTANS his youngest brother, who was in ROME, he was killed by [62] the field labourers of his youngest brother; and he left two sons, GALLUS and JULIANUS. Then CONSTANTIUS their uncle, that is to say the middle (i.e. the elder of two brothers of CONSTANTINE) brother of their father, because they were young, commanded them to be instructed in learning (i.e. educated and trained) in the village of MAKALI by the side of CAESAREA of CAPPADOCIA. And the two of them became Lectors and built a church to MAR MAMA. And when they grew up CONSTANTIUS made the one who was the elder, that is GALLUS, CAESAR in the place of his father; After a short time GALLUS rebelled against his uncle who had established him, and the king his uncle sent and killed him, and he also placed his younger brother in prison.

And afterwards Queen EUSEBIA, his mother, demanded him from the king, and she sent him to ATHENS that he might learn wisdom, and there he studied with BASIL the Great, and GREGORY of NUSA (NYSSA) his brother, and GREGORY the theologian of NAZYANZO. And when BASIL saw his habits of life and general behaviour he prophesied that he would become a pagan; and he said, ‘Woe be to RHOMANiA! (i.e. the new kingdom of Constantinople). What kind of a man is she rearing?’ And CONSTANTIUS, the second brother, enlarged AMID and called it ‘AUGUSTA’.

And CONSTANS, the youngest brother who was in ROME, having reigned for six years, died through the treachery of the soldiers (or , peasants); and MAGNENTIUS the tyrant seized all ITALY and AFRICA; and he was proclaimed king in SERMION. And when the king, the intermediate brother, heard [of this], he attacked the tyrant with violence and killed him, and entered ROME in triumph. And when he returned to CONSTANTINOPLE he appointed the son of his elder brother CAESAR, and gave him his sister HELENA to wife–now she was called ‘CONSTANTIA’. And he sent him against the GALLAYE, and JULIAN conquered them completely. And he increased in power, and became haughty and arrogant, and was proclaimed Emperor by the ROMANS. Now when CONSTANTIUS his uncle heard [this], he trembled, and made haste and was baptized by OZIOS (EUZOIUS) of ANTIOCH, and he marched against JULIAN, and between CILICIA of CAPPADOCIA in MAMPROKEA (MOPSUERENE) he died.


After the three sons of CONSTANTINE the Victorious, JUILAN PARABITIS, that is the denier [of CHRIST], the son of the eldest son of the Victorious King, [reigned] two years, in addition to the five years which [63] he had reigned with his uncle. This Emperor had, under the name of rhetoric, learned the art of magic, to which the kingdom of ROME was addicted in his time. And he behaved in a brutal manner, and relied confidently on his luck, and he was sure and certain that ‘the devils had raised him to his exalted station’. And he began to open the temples of idols, and he offered up sacrifices [therein], and he acted in the lying manner of the philosophers, and he expelled cooks and knaves(?). But his mouth hung open for laughter, and his tongue was ever ready for scoffing. When he went into CONSTANTINOPLE he was called ‘Autocrator’. Having gone into ANTIOCH and reduced the price of everything that was sold [there], he was treated with contempt by the people of ANTIOCH. They were quickly moved to mirth, and they used to laugh at his beard because it was [very] long. And when he wished to destroy them, LIBANIUS, the sophist, brought [to him] a petition of supplication on their behalf, and the Emperor abused (or, cursed) them with words; and he made to cease his wrath. And [that] wicked man set out two tables, on one of which was placed gold, and on the other there was frankincense and fire. And every one who wanted gold had to throw frankincense on the fire, and burn incense before an idol, and then he could take the gold. He expelled from his service eunuchs, and camels, and asses, and mules, leaving in it horses only. And he passed a law that Christians should not read philosophical books. And he made houses wherein orphans, and widows, and destitute folk were fed, and he led astray the simple (i.e. common) folk on a well-thought-out plan. He sent a message to the men of EDESSA that they were to receive him, and when they refused to receive him he left them and passed on to HARRAN. And he offered sacrifices to idols and paid honour to the JEWS. And when the Christians who were in EDESSA heard [this ], they became filled with envy and wrath, and slew the JEWS who were their neighbours. Now JULIAN practised divination and the art of sorcery in every place, and there went forth to him a vaticination which said, ‘Behold, I ARES will go before thee to give thee help’. And relying on this confidently he marched straight to PERSIA, having with him three hundred and ninety-five thousand warriors; and he captured and laid waste SELEUCIA and CTESIPHON. And SAPOR, the PERSIAN, sent an entreaty, that he would allow him to possess a small portion of his own country, and he could take the remainder; and JULIAN would not agree [to this]. Then the war between the ROMANS and the PERSIANS on the banks of the TIGRIS became more fierce. [64] And whilst JULIAN was riding his horse and was urging on the war, and was boasting in his good luck, suddenly an arrow flew and smote him in his side, and he fell down dead. It is said that he filled his two hands with his blood and cast [it] up towards heaven, saying. ‘Thou hast conquered me, O JESUSS, the GALILEAN! Now together with divinity Thou hast gotten sovereignty.’ And one of the holy men saw in a revelation (or, vision) that one of the forty holy martyrs shot the arrow.


After JULIAN the heathen [came] JOVIANUS the believer. JULIAN being dead the Roman Army suffered exceedingly from hunger, because SAPOR had selzed those who brought in suppies of food. Then the ROMANS sought for a king, and they chose JOVIANUS the believer, who was a chiliarch, but he took an oath saying, ‘I will not be a king of the heathen’.

Then they all cried out, saying, ‘We are all Christians’ and tears were mingled with gladness. And they set up in [their] midst a cross, and [placed] a crown on the top of it, and having bowed their knees and done homage to the cross they took the crown and set it upon the head of JOVIANUS. And he in his humility went to SAPOR. And when SAPOR said that the ROMANS must give to the PERSIANS [the country] up to the EUPHRATES, the sword which was with them was not drawn again. He gave him NISIBIS only, without labour [toil?], and pacified him. And he made peace for thirty years. And both sides rejoiced and the two camps were mingled together. And he took care also for JULIAN, and took him up with him in a coffin and buried him in TARSUS, even as SOCRATES saith, and afterwards he was carried to CONSTANTINOPLE. And because of this THEMISTIUS, the philosopher, reviled the children of his generation (i.e. his contemporaries), saying, ‘It is not a god but people which they glorify and honour’. When JOVIANUS returned from PERSIA he passed through CILICIA, and when he came to BOSPOROS, to a village the name of which was DASTANIA (DODASTANA), on the border of BYTHINIA and GALATIA, he fell sick of a disease of the kidneys in the season of winter, and there he died.


After JOVIANUS, the brothers VALENTINIANUS and VALENS [reigned] thirteen years. This Emperor came from the country of PANNONIA, from the city of KIBALON [65] (KIBALA?), and he was strong and wise. And he brought his brother VALENS and appointed him king in the East, and when he went to RHOMI he proclaimed his son GRATIANUS ‘AUGUSTUS’, and made him Consul. And in his eleventh year ARDASHiR, the son of SAPOR, reigned over the PERSIANS four years. At that time PROCOPIUS rebelled against VALENS, and having been captured in CONSTANTINOPLE he was tied between trees and sawn asunder. When VALENS went to EGYPT and arrived at MARCIANOPOLIS, a great earthquake took place, and the sea was convulsed and heaved the small ships up over the wall of the city. And then the sea receded from its place, and the great ships remained high and dry as if they were on the dry land.

And the people of the City ran to loot, and the sea came back upon them, and swallowed them up, and they were drowned. And his wife being still alive VALENTINIANUS took another wife (JUSTINA), a most marvellously beautiful woman, and he abolished the law and permitted every man who wished to do so to possess two wives at the same time.

And when he went to make war on the SARMATAYE (SARMATIANS) they were afraid, and they sent ambassadors to sue for peace. And when he saw that they were wretched and contemptible men, he cried out loudly, ‘The kingdom of the RHOMAYE is in evil case indeed when such vile and con- temptible people as these have the impudence to [make] war’. And as he shouted out these words suddenly the veins of his neck burst asunder, and a flood of blood flowed down from him and he died. And because GRATIANUS his first son was not at hand, the soldiers gathered together and they made king his younger son (who also bore his father’s name), which he had by JUSTINA, his second wife whom he had married for her beauty. Then VALENS made GRATIANUS a general and sent him to the war with the GOTHAYE (GOTHS), but he was not successful. And there went forth a vaticination to VALENS [which said], that a man whose name began with the letter TAW (T) should rule after him. And he commanded that every man whose name was THEODORE, and THEODOTUS, and such like names, should be killed.

And at that time there appeared in the air men in the clouds who had the forms of armed soldiers. And there was born in ANTIOCH a child who had a single eye in the space between the places of the eyes, and four hands, and four feet, and a beard. And at this time the ARABS were stirred up on the territory of the RHOMAYE, and a woman who was called ‘MU’AWIYAH’ ruled over them. Then they made peace with [66] the RHOMAYE and embraced Christianity, and they requested that MOSES the monk should be their bishop, and he becamAe their bishop by the command of VALENS. And the GOTHAYE (GOTHS) and ‘IBHERAYE (IBERIANS) went forth to the country of the RHOMAYE and they captured SCYTHIA, and MYSIA, and TARKIS, and MACEDONIA, and ACHAIA, and all ILADA (HELLAS). VALENS in CONSTANTINOPLE withheld himself from the war, because he was afraid of the GOTHAYE and ‘IBHERAYE, but all the people cried out, ‘Give us arms and we will carry on the war’. And the king was angry and he went forth uttering the threat that ‘when he returned he would govern the city with a plough (i.e. he would plough up the city) in return for his disgraces’. And when he went out to war he was defeated and fled to a village. And when the Barbarians surrounded it he hid himself in a round pit and buried himself under the straw; and when the GOTHAYE were unable to find him, they set fire to the whole village, and he also was burned to death.


After VALENS, GRATIANUS, the son of VALENTINIANUS [reigned] one year. This Emperor, having been made in the days of his father AUTOCRATOR in RHOMI, seized the kingdom after VALENS. He was a righteous man, and chaste, and orthodox, and he was not an Arian like his father and uncle. And he associated with him in the kingdom the Great THEODOSIUS who [came] from SPAIN, and was an IBERIAN by race, because THEODOSIUS had shown care for GRATIANUS and had proclaimed him king before the burning of VALENS. And at that time a certain man called MAXIMUS killed GRATIANUS in RHOMI treacherously, and VALENTINIANUS his younger brother reigned in RHOMI.


After GRATIANUS, THEODOSIUS THE GREAT [reignedl sixteen years, GRATIANUS having been killed, and VALENTINIANUS his brother reigning in RHOMI, THEODOSIUS reigned alone in CONSTANTINOPLE and in a11 the East. He was a mighty man, and wise, and he was experienced in warfare, and he quickly conquered the Barbarians who were in TARKI (TURKEY). And in the second year of his reign ARDASHIR died, and SAPOR his son succeeded him four years. And in the fifth year of THEODOSIUS, WARHARAN GARMANSHAH reigned over the PERSIANS twelve years. And THEODOSIUS together with VALENTINIANUS went against the tyrant who had killed GRATIANUS and they killed him, and the two of them entered RHOMI in triumph. And when he returned from [67] RHOMI he fell sick in THESSALONICA. And having sought out ‘AKHILOS (ASEOLUS?), the bishop of that diocese, and found that he was not an Arian, he was baptized by him and was made whole. And he came to CONSTANTINOPLE and built the Church of ANASTASIA under the direction of the Great Theologian, who was still there. And a son, HONORIUS, was born to THEODOSIUS by Queen FLAKIDA (FLACCILLA?), a woman who was rich in excellences and virtues, for she ministered in person to the sick poor, and she went about visiting [the inmates of] the guest houses of the Churches. And because King THEODOSIUS was sorely vexed by wars with the Barbarians, he laid tribute (taxes?) on the cities. But the people of ANTIOCH would not undertake to pay tribute and in [their] wrath they cast the statue of Queen FLACCILLA (4) which was in their city out into the market place (?), and at that moment she died. And when the king heard [of this] he sent and carried out a horrible slaughter [in the city]. And the blessed MACEDONIUS sent to the king a word of rebuke, saying, ‘Why for the sake of a statue of brass which was made in the image of a man hast thou destroyed men who were made in the image of God? It is very easy for us to cast many statues of brass, but thou art not able to fashion even a single hair of [one of] those men whom thou hast made to perish.’ And when the king heard the words of the old man he was sorry (or, repented), and he wrote a letter of consolation to the people.

And at that time an uprising (or, revolt) took place in THESSALONICA which was the chief [city] of ITALIA (TITALIA), and the people stoned the governor. And the king was furiously angry, and he commanded the judges, and they killed seven thousand people, the innocent and the guilty alike. And because of this when the king came to MEDIOLANUM, AMBROSE, the holy bishop, met him outside the door of the church, and prevented him [from entering], saying, ‘The glory of sovereignty doth not permit thee to understand thy nature. Get thee gone, and increase not thy sin in the name of prayer which will provoke God to wrath.’ And the king received the prohibition [to enter] graciously, and he was not released until he had undertaken to make an investigation, which lasted three days, concerning those who were worthy of slaughter. And that when [his] anger had subsided, [68] and the matter being judged with justice, a penalty should be promulgated. And when he went into the church he prayed, not standing upright, but prostrate on the ground, saying, ‘My soul hath gone forth into the dust, make me to live according to Thy word’ [Psalm cxix. 25].

And in his thirteenth year THEODOSIUS proclaimed his son ARCADIUS king of the East. And two years later EUGENIUS (‘AWGIN ) and ‘ARGUBATOS (ARBUGASTES?) in RHOMI led astray the steward of VALENTINIANUS, and he strangled the king. And when THEODOSIUS heard [of this], he made haste and appointed HONORIUS, his young son, king in the West. And he marched against EUGENIUS the tyrant, and defeated the numerous army of Barbarians who were with him. And the Barbarians seeing that they were defeated cried out and begged for pardon. And the king commanded them to bring the tyrant, and they ran and seized him, and brought him to the king bound in fetters, and he was killed. And ‘ARGUBATOS (ARBUGASTES?) he himself strangled. And after these things, when the king returned from MEDIOLANUM because of the exhaustion caused by the war, he fell sick and died. And in that same year YAZDAGARD, the son of SAPOR [reigned], twenty-one years.

(Continued on Next Page)

(1) It was CONSTANTINE THE GREAT his son who was healed (Bedjan’s note 2).

(2) CONSTANTINE married first MENAIRWENA, and after her death FAUSTA, the daughter of MAXIMIANUS; as to the parentage of DIOCLETIANA see Bedjan’s note, p. 60.

(3) Bedjan’s notes reads, ‘The First Synod of Nicea was in the year 636 of the Greeks = A.D. 325.’

(4) Bedjan notes that the Emperor’s daughter was called GALLA PLACIDIA.

Bar Hebraeus’


The Roman Emperors (continued).


After THEODOSIUS THE GREAT, ARCADIUS and HONORIUS his sons [reigned]–thirteen years. Whilst ARCADIUS was reigning in CONSTANTINOPLE and the East, HONORIUS, who was nine years old, became king. And in that year, in the month of TAMMUZ (JULY), the UNAYE (i.e. HUNAYE, or HUNS) went forth against the country of the RHOMAYE, and they laid waste, and spoiled SYRIA and CAPPADOCIA. [This took place in] the seven hundred and eighth year of ALEXANDER (= A.D. 397). And ARCADIUS built the great ‘AMPOLON (EMBOLOS) which is before the PRAETORIUM, and his wife EUDOXIA set up a pillar of silver by the side of the Quarter of Saint IRENE. And he defeated and killed GAINAS (GAIUS?) who rebelled against him. And when he went to pray in KARKIDHA (CHALCEDON?)–now tens of thousands of the people were gathered together to see him–as soon as he had prayed and gone forth from the temple of Saint ACACIUS, and all the people with him, suddenly the whole temple fell down. And every man believed that the people were saved by the prayer of the king, for he observed the glorious habits of righteousness (i.e. the ascetic life) to such a degree that even under his royal apparel of purple [69] he wore a hair tunic next to his skin.

And after GAINAS (GAIUS?) the rebel had perished, the HUNS crossed the river ESTROS (ISTER), and having captured and laid waste the cities in TARKI (TURKEY), hail fell upon them and killed the greater number of them, and the remainder fled.


And after these things ARCADIUS died and he left as king his son’ THEODOSIUS, a little boy eight years old. Now HONORIUS had no sons, and as he was alone with them and they were afraid lest some men might act treacherously in respect of him. Therefore when he was dying ARCADIUS made a Will, and made YAZDAGARD, king of the PERSIANS, guardian of his son. When YAZDAGARD received the Will, he gladly took care of THEODOSIUS, and he sent an instructor from his own house for him. And he wrote to the nobles, saying, that if they dealt treacherously with the boy they would have with him a war which would never cease. For this reason Christianity increased among the PERSIANS, and MARUTHA, bishop of MAIPERKAT, acted as intermediary between them. And THEODOSIUS and his sister PULCHERIA were brought up by their uncle HONORIUS.

THEODOSIUS THE LESS, his son, [reigned] forty-two years. At the beginning of his reign ‘ALAREKOS (ALARICUS), an African, rebelled, and he collected an army and came to ITALY, and committed many evil deeds, and STILICO, the Eparch, was killed. And HONORIUS the king died in RHOMI. And CONSTANTIUS, the father of VALENTINIANUS, reigned and was killed. And ‘IWANNIS, one of the scribes, seized the kingdom. And he sent to THEODOSIUS [asking] him to confirm him in it. And the king having bound the ambassadors in fetters, sent the Strategos ADHARBURIUS against the tyrant. The tyrant, however, defeated him, and he seized the Strategos and bound him in fetters. And again THEODOSIUS sent ‘AKAPPORA, the son of ADHARBURIUS, with an army, and by the prayers of the God-fearing king an angel in the form of, a shepherd appeared and enabled them to cross the lake of water on foot. And they found the gates of the city open, and they went in and they brought out the Strategos and they killed ‘IWANNIS. Then THEODOSIUS made VALENTINIANUS, [70] the son of his aunt, CAESAR, and sent him to RHOMI with his mother, and subsequently he sent him the royal crown. And VALENTINIANUS (III?) reigned thirty-two years.

And THEODOSIUS fasted and prayed continually, and on the fourth and sixth days of the week he kept the evening fast. And when the bishop of HEBHRON died, the king took his tunic, filthy though it was, and put it on so that he might be blessed thereby. At this time YAZDAGARD, king of the PERSIANS, died, and his son WARHARAN succeeded him for twenty-two years. And he broke the peace, and the PERSIANS took up arms against the RHOMAYE, and the RHOMAYE defeated and carried the PERSIANS away captive. And after these things there was peace, although the persecution of the Christians never ceased durmg the whole time of WARHARAN.

And after the peace the PERSIANS made bold and went up against RAS’AIN, and they returned therefrom in shame. And they went up a second time and attacked it with great violence, but they were defeated, and the RHOMAYE carried away seven thousand captives from the country of ‘ARZAN. These captives Bishop ACACIUS of ‘AMID bought and set free, having sold the gold and silver chalices and patens of the churches.

At this time the BURGANZIS people, who lived by the craft of the carpenter, and dwelt in peace–the HUNS having carried them away as captives–believed and were baptized. And straightway three thousand of them destroyed ten thousand HUNS! and they were confirmed in the Faith. And THEODOSIUS sent for VALENTINIANUS, his aunt’s son, and brought him to CONSTANTINOPLE, and he gave him his daughter EUDOXIA to wife, and VALENTINIANUS took her and went to RHOMI. And at this time the strife between the kingdoms of the RHOMAYE and the PERSIANS concerning the persecution of the Christians in PERSIA increased. And the king of the PERSIANS ill-treated many merchants, and seized their merchandise, and he cheated the workers in gold who were Christians, and who were employed by him, and would not pay them their full wages. Because of these things the RHOMAYE descended upon ARMENIA and took the people captives. And they laid waste the country and killed the seven generals of the PERSIAN Army; and the remainder of them were drowned in the EUPHRATES, especially the ARABS, whom they had brought to help them. And after these things there was peace and the persecution died down.

But the Barbarians went forth and took captives many of the people of TARKI (TURKEY) and ILLYRICUM. And [71] a comet appeared, a portent in the heavens, and many people said that the end [of the king] was nigh by reason of the portents which were increasing [in number]. And one day, when King THEODOSIUS was riding his horse as usual through the royal city, and was going out into the open country to enjoy a ride. the horse stumbled and fell, and the vertebrae of the king’s neck was crushed in, and they put him on a portable bed. And when he saw that his end was near, he called PULCHERIA, his sister, and informed her that MARCIANUS must reign after him. And he also called MARCIANUS and commanded him to administer public affairs and to rule in the fear of God. And after two days he died.


After THEODOSIUS THE LESS, MARCIANUS [reigned] seven years. This Emperor took to wife PULCHERIA, the sister of king THEODOSIUS, who had devoted herself during the whole period of her brother’s life to the ascetic practices and to the life of contemplation of those who dwelt in monasteries (1). But she held MARCIANUS in contempt, even though she lived with him openly after the death of THEODOSIUS. And because under the false and lying pretence that she would never consent to have union with a man and defile her chastity, certain bishops, who were respectors of persons (i.e. hypocrites), and who were inclined to believe in the doctrine of the Two Persons (of CHRIST], persuaded her to consent. And they laid an ordinance on all the people that on one Sabbath in the year they should abstain from [eating] flesh on her behalf, and should eat the foods which the monks and the nuns usually ate. Then was PULCHERIA persuaded, and she denied her covenant, and stripped off her nun’s garb. And within two years she assembled the Council in CHALCEDON, she the woman who together with the confession of the Two Natures had also laid the ordinance ot the abstinence [from meat on] the Sabbath before the Lord’s Fast (i.e. Lent) on those who accepted it. When the orthodox EGYPTIANS who were in EGYPT saw that the [doctrine] of the Two Natures [of CHRIST] had been laid upon them together with the abstinence from meat on that Sabbath, they abstained not only from flesh, but also from all the things which are derived from the flesh of beasts, [72] namely milk, cheese, oil and eggs, and they held [that Sabbath] to be like the other fast days.

And in the sixth year of MARCIANUS, VALENTINIANUS of RHOMI was killed. And from this moment [the city], even like the church, was rent in twain. For it was the law that when he of CONSTANTINOPLE died, the king stood by the consent (or, accord) of the king who was in RHOMI. And similarly when he of RHOMI died, RHOMI stood by the consent of the king who was in CONSTANTINOPLE. And because MARCIANUS stood without the consent of VALENTINIANUS of RHOMI in the choice of PULCHERIA who committed fornication with him, in like manner the RHOMAYE without the consent of MARCIANUS set up a king for themselves, Therefore the writers who were in the East have exercised care only in respect of the kings of CONSTANTINOPLE, and have written down [their names] one after the other only, and they call them ‘Kings of the RHOMAYE’. And because MARCIANUS and PULCHERIA reigned in their old age they died without seed.


After MARCIANUS, LEO [reigned] eighteen years. This Emperor was a TARK (TURK) by race, but was a tribune by rank; and he was chosen by the Council and reigned. That year FIRUZ reigned over the PERSIANS after WARHARAN, the son of YAZDAGARD. And he made war with the RHOMAYE and persecuted the Christians. And LEO gave his daughter ARIADNE to ZAYNON (ZENO), and magnified him in the kingdom, and made him Strategos of all the East. And he made BASILISCUS Strategos of TARKI (TURKEY). And he built CALONICUS, and it was called LEONTOPOLIS.

At that time there was a great fire in CONSTANTINOPLE, and the fire raged from sea to sea. The king fled to the passage of MAR MAMA, and lived there for six months. And he built the great harbour of NEON AMBOLON (The of New Gate). And he made a law that no man should work on the First Day of the Week, and that no man should play on any instrument of music, but that every man should occupy himself in [his] church, And LEO proclaimed LEONTINUS, his daughter’s son, that is to say, the son of ZAYNON, CAESAR, when he was still a child six years old; and he reigned one year during the life of [73] the king. Then king LEO fell ill through a disease of the bowels and died.


After LEO, LEONTINUS. During the one year which he reigned his father ZAYNON himself used to pay homage to him. His mother treated him as if a child and led him into error, saying, ‘When thy father is bowing down before thee take the crown which is on thy head place it on his head’. Having done this ZAYNON seized the kingdom, and he made his son LEONTINUS to exercise the chief authority as Consul. After a few days the boy died, and many suspected that his father and his mother had put him to death.


After LEONTINUS, his father ZAYNON [reigned] fifteen years. And when WAIRINA, the wife of LEO THE GREAT, advised (or, persuaded) ZAYNON concerning a certain matter, and he would not accept [her advice], she cast him aside and set up her brother BASILISCUS as king. Then BASILISCUS, who was dwelling in HERAKLEIA, rebelled against ZAYNON, and he was proclaimed king, and he made his son MARCUS CAESAR. Then ZAYNON being afraid of WAIRINA, and fearing lest his murder might be contrived secretly; fled to ISAURIA because he came from that country, and his wife ‘ARGANIA, that is ‘IRADNI, fled to him secretly. And BASILISCUS and his son MARK reigned two years, and they acted wickedly. For at the beginning he professed to be orthodox, and he made Saint TIMOTHY and the bones of Saint DIOSCURUS to be brought back to ALEXANDRIA. And he wrote an Encyclical Letter, and cursed the COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON. But at a later period he changed [his policy], and proclaimed it [good].

Now whilst BASILISCUS was laying bare the instability of his mind, ZAYNON was consolidating his power, and he collected an army and came to attack him, Then BASILISCUS sent ‘ARMATIS, the captain of his host, to join battle with him. And ZAYNON sent a message to ‘ARMATIS secretly, and took an oath to him that he would make his son CAESAR, and ‘ARMATIS himself Strategos. Thus ‘ARMATIS acted treacherously towards his lord, and joined himself to ZAYNON, and they went to CONSTANTINOPLE. Then BASILISCUS [74] took his wife and his sons and fled to the church. And ZAYNON sent and had the purple apparel of royalty stripped off from him and from his wife and his sons, and he gave them the promise that they should not be murdered. And he sent them to LAMIS, a camp of CAPPADOCIA, to be imprisoned in one of the towers, and being closed in their faces they died miserably. And ZAYNON having established himself in the kingdom fulfilled his oath and made the son of ‘ARMATIS CAESAR, and commanded an equestrian display to be carried out; and the two sat together. And ZAYNON promoted ‘ARMATis to the rank of Strategos. Then ZAYNON pondered in his mind and said, ‘Now that ‘ARMATis hath waxed strong it is m>t going too far (i.e. the idea is not too far-fetched) to think that just as he betrayed BASILISCUS, he may also dig a pit for me. Therefore,’ he said, ‘I have performed that which I swore [to do for him], and now ‘RMATIS, who transgressed (i.e. broke) the oath (of fidelity] which [he swore] to BASILICUS shall die.’ And having slain ‘ARMATIS, he shaved his son (i.e. gave him the tonsure) and made him a reader, and afterwards he commanded and he became Metropolitan of HELLESPONTUS that is CYZICUS. And this because he was worthy to wear the royal purple!

And in the ninth year of ZAYNON, BALASH reigned over the PERSIANS four years. And in his eleventh year, after BALASH, KAWAD, the son of FiRUZ, reigned eleven years. And in the days of ZAYNON the SAMARITANS rebelled and set up a certain YUSTOS (JUSTUS) as their king. And he slew many of the Christians, and he went to CAESAREA and burnt the church of PROCOPIUS. And the RHOMAYE of PALESTINE gathered together, and they made war on the SAMARITANS and defeated [them], and they sent the head of their king to ZAYNON. And he made the synagogue of the SAMARITANS into a great church [in honour of] Our Lady (MARINA) (MARIA). And they also burnt the synagogue of the JEWS in ANTIOCH, and many of the JEWS therewith; and they also burnt the bones of their dead which were in the graves. And after these things he fell sick of a disease of the bowels and died.


After ZAYNON SILENTIARI, ANASTASIUS [reigned] twenty-seven years. This Emperor was one of the SILENTIARII, and as soon as he became king he destroyed the children who were studying letters, because he was made a mock of by them. [75] And in his eighth year KAWAD’s brother, ZAMASP, rebelled against him and reigned two years. And KAWAD fled and collected an army and came against his brother, and he defeated him and killed him. And he reigned afterwards thirty years.

At this time NICOPOLIS was overthrown, and all the inhabitants thereof, with the exception of the bishop and two of his companions, were buried in the ruins. And a comet appeared for many days, and the locusts came and destroyed [everything], and there was a great famine in BETH NAHRIN (MESOPOTAMIA); and an immense mass of fire also appeared in the northern quarter [of the heavens], and it fumed brilliantly the whole night (Aurora Borealis?).

And after a short time the HUNS went forth from the north-west into the territory of the PERSIANS for the following reason. Now, in the days of ZAYNON the HUNS sent a message to FIRUZ, the king of the PERSIANS, and they told him that the subsidy which he was giving them was insufficient for them, and that the RHOMAYE were giving them double as much. Therefore the PERSIANS must either give as much as the RHOMAYE, or they [the HUNS] would make ready for war. Then FIRUZ lied to them and promIsed to give [a larger subsidy], and on this condition the HUN envoys withdrew. And FIRUZ having strengthened his army, slew the HUNS who had been left behind to receive the subsidy, and he gave chase to those who had departed. Then a certain merchant, a GREEK from APAMEA, who was with the HUNS, encouraged them and advised them to offer up incense in the place wherein the oath had been made, and [told them] that God would sweep away the PERSIANS who had lied. And when the HUNS had done this they met the PERSIANS in war, and they slew FIRUZ and laid waste PERSIA, and returned to their own country. Because of this when KAWAD reigned, he held bitter enmity against the RHOMAYE.

And the PERSIANS collected their armies and went forth against the countries of the RHOMAYE, and they captured THEODOSIOPOLIS of ARMENIA, which is ‘ARZAN-RUM, but he treated the inhabitants thereof in a merciful fashion; then the governor who was in CONSTANTINOPLE took the city. And in the month of TESHRIN (OCTOBER?) he delivered a fierce attack on ‘AMID. And when the winter supervened the PERSIANS suffered sorely, for their garments were reduced to rags (?), and their bows lost their spring through the moisture of the air. And the heads of their battering-rams did not breach the wall, because those who were inside the city bound chains round the wooden portions (‘arbane) of the platform, [76] and so made them to receive the force of the heads of the battering rams. And they also lowered planks of wood into the ditch and covered them over with earth during the night, so that the PERSIANS might not see. And when about five hundred PERSIANS with their armaments came near, they set planks of wood (ladders?) against the wall so that they might ascend by them. And they covered the ‘bridges’ with the hides of oxen, and they made a mighty battering ram, and a staging path on which it might be pushed up. Then those who were inside the city poured a filthy liquid which was mixed with resin on the ‘mule’ (i.e. battering ram) and they made trenches in it (the ground?), and they set fire secretly under the planks of wood which were under the battering ram. And when about six hours [had passed] the PERSIANS were checked and could not pass up over those trenches; and the fire blazed up from below. And the battering ram collapsed, and the PERSIANS were overwhelmed and burnt to death. And the king was put to shame, especially by the foul insults which those who were inside the city cast upon him. And he asked the citizens to give him a little money and [promised] to go away; now if they had only given to him courteous speech he would have gone. They, however, returned answer very contemptuously, saying, ‘It is for us to demand from thee the price of the vegetables and forage which thou hast eaten’. When he perceived their arrogance he persisted and, according to what he himself said, that night CHRIST appeared to him in a dream and said unto him, ‘After three days I Will hand over the city to thee, because the inhabitants thereof have behaved pridefully’.

Now, in the west by the TRIPOGRIN (THREE TOWERS?), there was a watch tower of the monks of the Monastery of JOHN OF THE ‘URTAYE, and opposite to this tower, outside, was encamped a certain warden of the marches, KANREK (KANDEK, CANDAULES?) the Lame, a cunning man. And it happened that one night there was a fog and a violent rainstorm, and a certain man had made a feast for the monks, and he had made them to drink wine and they were drowned in sleep. Then a certain robber chief, a seditious man, and a thief, whose name was KUTRANA, used to go out continually [from the city] and steal from and plunder the possessions of the PERSIANS. And as he went out that night according to custom KANREK saw him and followed him, and he also drew nigh to the wall, to the opening through which KUTRANA (KUTRANGA) used to go in and come out And the monks did not cry out (i.e. challenge him) and he knew that they were asleep. And the PERSIANS brought ladders and ascended and slew the monks. And when the governor perceived [what had happened] he came with [77] lights, but the PERSIANS easily transfixed the bearers of the lights with their arrows. And when the dawn came the king and his troops set ladders upright [against the walls] and went up.

One day the citizens locked the PERSIANS up in that tower, and they began to destroy the tower from the base thereof so that the PERSIANS might be overwhelmed in the ruins. Then the PERSIANS obtained possession of another tower, and then of another tower, and several others. And they went into the city, and they opened the gates; and killed eighty thousand people therein. Only the church of the Forty Martyrs [escaped]. This was full of people, and the governor of the ARMENIANS seized it, and persuaded the king, and saved it. Then the king sent the gold, and the silver, and the copper by the river DEKLATH (TIGRIS) to his own country, and of the people who remained they killed one in every ten, because very many of the PERSIANS had been killed. And they dressed LEONTIUS and KURA, the judges, in filthy garments, and they threw the entrails of pigs round their necks, and they mounted them on sows, and men made a proclamation saying, ‘[Here are] the governors who have not governed well, and who have permitted the king to be disgraced; thus are they disgraced’.

When ANASTASIUS the king heard these things he suffered not a little. He sent five generals against NISIBIS, and they were not able to capture it. And he commanded a city to be built by the side of the mountain as a place of refuge for the Army, and it was built where DARYAWASH (DARIUS) was killed, and for that reason was called ‘DARA’. And it was finished in three years with marvellous buildings and it was named ‘ANASTASIOPOLIS’. ANASTASIUS also made a statue on a pillar, because the statue of THEODOSIUA fell down during the earthquake when NEO-CAESAREA was overwhelmed, besides the Church of St. GREGORY, the worker of wonders. And the COLOSSUS of RODOS (RHODES) also fell down. And the king sent gold for men to uncover (i.e. dig out) the dead bodies of those who were suffocated that they might be buried.

And VITALIANUS the tyrant rebelled. and the king bound him in fetters and shut him up in prison. And in the twenty-second year of ANASTASIUS, ARMENIA rebelled against the RHOMAYE, and he sent troops against the ARMENIANS and destroyed some of them, and he reduced ARMENIA again to the subjugation of the RHOMAYE. And in the year eight hundred and thirty-one (= A.D. 520) he died in peace.

(Continued on Next Page)

  1. Bedjan’s note reads: Here Bar Hebraeus vilifies the bishops, the sons of the Catholic Faith and Saint Pulcheria through the difficulties which he found in the books of his co-eIigionists. For he was a Jacobite, and he always calls the people of his own party ‘orthodox’, and sons of the true Chalcedonian Church. This warning is necessary in all this his history.

Bar Hebraeus’


The Roman Emperors (continued).


After ANASTASIUS, JUSTINUS [reigned] nine years. [78] This Emperor [came] from TARKI (TURKEY), from the village of BADRINOS. This man was old and simple. And because his fellow-countrymen the TARKAYE (TURKS) advised him to accept the COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON which was gathered together by the diligence of LEO of the RHOMAYE, because all the countries of ITALY would join with him and one (i.e. united) kingdom would come into being, he accepted the Council. And when the king of the PERSIANS rose up and demanded from JUSTINUS, the king of the RHOMAYE, five hundred and fifty kantindre (i.e. talents) of gold, which they had been wont to give for the rations of the army of the PERSIANS, who guarded the gates against the HUNS, he would not give them. And he used to send from time to time his ARABS into the country of the RHOMAYE, and they laid it waste and spoiled it. Therefore MUNDAR, king of the ARABS, went up and captured the whole country of the Frontiers, that is BLIHA and HABURA. And they passed over to ‘ARZON and NISIBIS, and they plundered, and spoiled, and killed. And he went up also to EMESA, and APAMEA, and the district of ANTIOCH, and he killed, and spoiled and laid waste, and he chose [for himself] four hundred virgins from among the captives.

At this time there appeared in the country of CILICIA a woman which it is impossible to describe; she was a cubit taller than all the men, and no man knew whence she came. Now, she used to eat food like men, and she used to take one obolus from each lupanar. And suddenly she was no more seen. And the old man JUSTlNUS at the end of his days associated with him JUSTINIANUS, his sister’s son, and proclaimed him CAESAR. And after three months the old man died.


After JUSTlNUS the old man, JUSTINIANUS, his sister’s son, [reigned] thirty-eight years. At the beginning of his reign he came down towards the PERSIANS and went to MABBUGH (MENBIJ). When he was told about THEODORA, the daughter of an orthodox priest, he asked for her. But her father did not wish to give his daughter until he made a covenant that he would not force her to accept the COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON. This [Emperor] sent [orders] to BELISARIUS to engage in war with the PERSIANS. And when the Sabbath of the Redeeming Passion was nigh at hand, the Governor of the PERSIANS sent to him, saying, ‘Let us honour the Festival, for the sake of the NAZARENES and JEWS who are with me, and for the sake of you Christians’. [79] Now the RHOMAYE would not accept [this proposal]. And at dawn on the First Day of the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread they made ready for war. And it was a cold day, and the wind [blew] against the RHOMAYE, and they showed themselves to be weak, and they fled, and many of them were killed, and the rest fell into the EUPHRATES and were drowned. Concerning this JUSTINIANUS, JOHN of ‘AMID, of ASIA, relates thus: ‘I was [employed] in his business for thirty years, and I never saw him cease from the building of churches’; for he built ninety-six churches, and twelve monasteries and guest-houses. He saith, ‘By my hands he built in the countries of ASIA, and CARlA, and PHRYGIA, and LYDIA’.

And in his fourth year KESRU (CHOSROES), the son of KAWAD, reigned forty seven years. And there was peace between the RHOMAYE and the PERSIANS for seven years. And the SAMARITANS who were in PALESTINE set up a governor over themselves, and they went to NEOPOLIS and killed the bishop and many people, and they plundered and burnt many temples. And the RHOMAYE went up and captured the city, and they slew their governor and the greater number of them. Then DOMENUS in KARTAGENA also rebelled, and BELISARIUS went and captured the tyrant and brought him back in fetters.

And in the eleventh year of JUSTINIANUS the peace between the PERSIANS and the RHOMAYE was dissolved. And a great and terrible comet appeared in the evenings for many days. And in that same year KESRU went up and took ANTIOCH and ALEPPO and APAMEA–a bitter captivity. And the RHOMAYE went down to PERSIA and they took the country of the KARDAWAYE (KURDS?) and the ARZONITES and the ARABS. And KESRU also went up and took CALONICUS and all BETH NAHRIN; and he also went up against EDESSA, and being unable to capture it he took BATNAN and departed. And he also went up against ANTIOCH and captured it, and burnt it, and laid it waste wholly. And the PERSIANS took even the slabs of marble (or, white alabaster) which was on the walls and brought them down to PERSIA. And again the PERSIANS went up and took the whole country of the frontier, and they destroyed CALONICUS and BETH BALASH, and they carried away the bones of MAR BACCHUS the martyr, and the gold which was on the sarcophagus of MAR SARGIS (SERGIUS). And in the year eight hundred and forty-eight (A.D. 537) there was a sign in the sun the like of which had never before appeared. The sun became dark [80] and his darkness lasted for eighteen months. Each day the middle of heaven shone faintly with a shadowy light, and every man decided that [the sun] would never recover its full light. That year the fruits did not ripen and the wine tasted like urine.

Concerning the pestilence which took place in the whole country at this time.

JOHN of ASIA wrote very fully concerning this pestilence which took place in the year eight hundred and fifty-five (= A.D. 544), and ZECHARIAH also wrote. He beginneth first of all with the inside peoples of the South-East, that is to say of INDIA, and of KUSH (ABYSSINIA), and the HAMIRAYE, &c. And he cometh to the upper countries in the West, the peoples of the RHOMAYE, and the ITALIANS, and the GAULS, and the SPANIARDS. And it was heard that men lost their senses, and went mad, and attacked each other, and they went out to the mountains and destroyed themselves. The rod (i.e. stroke) came to the countries of KUSH (ABYSSINIA), which is on the border of EGYPT. And from there it began in EGYPT, and it came down to ALEXANDRIA, and it spread over LYBIA, and PALESTINE, and PHOENICIA, and ARABIA and AFRICA. And it advanced to GALATIA, and CAPPADOCIA, and ARMENIA, and the district of ANTIOCH, and little by little to PERSIAN territories, and to the nations of the east and north. Property was seen abandoned, and it was scattered and dispersed abroad, and there was none to gather it in. The fields were full of crops, and there was none to reap them. There were vineyards, the time for gathering the grapes from which had passed, and there was none to pluck the grapes; for men had come to an end, and scarcely one man of a thousand was left. After three years had run their course, the wrath died down. It is said that when the rod (or, stroke) fell on the royal city, the pestilence began first of all with the poor, and that men carried out [for burial] as many as sixteen thousand dead in one day. After the destitute were dead the Destroyer stretched out his hand over the men who were wealthy (or, rulers) and were renowned (or, famous). Those who escaped instant death fell by the attack of tumours, that is to say swellings in the groin, or, pustules, and deadly evacuations. Also there appeared in the palms of the hands marks like three thick drops of blood, and straightway men died. And when men found that they were unable to bury the dead, they cast the corpses into the sea in heaps.

In the eighteenth year of JUSTINIANUS the Barbarians captured the great city of RHOME in ITALY. [81] And [it is said] that they were not able to keep it because they sat down in the camp which was by the side of it; but they left it ruined and stripped bare. And because it was thus JUSTINIUS and the whole Senate mourned and put on black apparel. And in those days Queen THEODORA died. And at that time the Monastery of MAR SIMON of his pillar which was in the country of ANTIOCH was burned down, and it was completely destroyed. And there was a great disturbance in the churches, especially in CONSTANTINOPLE, because of the introduction of fasting and the Passover.

And in the twenty-third year of JUSTINIANUS, TARSUS in CILICIA was inundated by the river which flowed by it, and LADIKIA was overwhelmed, and seven thousand people died therein. And the sea-coast of PHOENICIA was submerged, TRIPOLI, BERUT, BYBLOS, and TROAS, and the cities of GALILEE. And at this time JOHN PHILOPONOS became known (i.e. flourished) in ALEXANDRIA. And the feeling of ravenous or bovine hunger attacked men. A man would sometimes eat ten pounds of bread together with other vegetables, and would not feel satisfied, but would continue to ask for bread although his belly was full. And in this way he died. After these things a pestilence among the cattle took place, especially in the East, [and it lasted] two years, until the fields became sterile through the absence of oxen. And a severe earthquake took place in CONSTANTINOPLE, in the month of AB (AUGUST), and many houses, and baths, and churches were thrown down, and the wall of the GOLDEN GATE fell down. And the earthquake lasted for forty days.

And in the twenty-seventh year of JUSTINIANUS, MUNDAR BAR-NA’MAN. king of the ARABS, went up to the territory of the RHOMAYE, and he laid waste many countries. And HERATH BAR-GABALA overtook him, and made war upon him and defeated him, and he killed MUNDAR in KENNESHRIN. And BAR-HERATH also died in the war, and he was buried in the House of the Martyrs which is there. And in the thirty-first year of JUSTINIANUS a severe earthquake took place, and the two walls of CONSTANTINOPLE, both the inner and the outer, were breached. And the city of RIGIN was so completely swallowed up by the earth that the site thereof could not be identified. And also the purple pillar which [stood] before the palace, and had a statue of the Emperor upon the top of it, was first cast up into the air, and then it turned upside down, and became embedded in the ground into which it sunk to a depth of eight feet. The earth swayed [82] and rocked about like a tree before the wind for ten days. And after these things the armies of the HUNS and the ‘ASKLABE (SLAVS) came and encamped about the royal city, and they broke down the outer walls, and plundered and burnt all the colonnades; and they seized everything which they found and departed. And they came again, a second and a third time, and then the RHOMAYE gained the mastery and destroyed them in the war [which followed]. The few of them who escaped never again appeared in the place.


After JUSTINIANUS the Second (sic) JUSTINUS the Third (sic) [reigned] thirteen years. This Emperor was the son of the sister of his predecessor, and he was a TARKAYA (TURK) by race. He [began to] reign, with SOPHIA his wife, in the LATTER TESHRIN (NOVEMBER). Although there was no trouble at all in his days, the doers of wickednesses ceased to be because of his strength; his feet (or, legs), however, caused him vexation (or, suffering). Now KESRU, king of the PERSIANS, lived at that time, and at first there was such great peace between them that JUSTINUS in his second year sent gifts of honour to KESRU by the hands of JOHN, the Patriarch, of CALONICUS. But when the PERSIANS began to compel the ARMENIANS to worship fire like the MAGIANS, the ARMENIANS rebelled against the PERSIANS, and took asylum with the RHOMAYE. And thus the peace was broken. And KESRU sent to JUSTINUS, saying, ‘It is not seemly for thee to assist a people who have rebelled against their king. If thou wouldst take the people, [do so,] but their land is mine. Let them evacuate my territory.’ JUSTINUS replied, ‘A Christian people who have fled from the worship of devils and have sought my help I will not deliver over into thy hands. And inasmuch as they are mine their land together with them is mine.’ Then KESRU wrote a second time, saying, ‘If thou wilt give up neither the people nor the land, give [at least] the tribute which your kings over ARMENIA at one time used to give’. JUSTINUS replied in still stronger terms, ‘I also require from thee the gold which thou didst formerly receive. And how canst thou demand from us the country of the north, seeing that we also demand [from you] NISIBIS, because it belongeth to the RHOMAYE, and it was only given to the PERSIANS conditionally, as it is written in the ancient documents.’

And in his eighth year, he appointed MARCION, the son of his mother’s sister, CAESAR, and he sent him with an army of the RHOMAYE against NISIBIS. And when MARCION arrived at the city of DARA [83] he sent some of his troops to the land of the PERSIANS, and they took it and laid it waste and came back. And the Persian Warden of the Marches who was in NISIBIS acted cunningly. He went out to MARCION and made him to delay for four months, with the excuse that the RHOMAYE ought to inform their king that ‘we will give back the city of NISIBIS peacefully, and if not, behold, there is war before you’. And under this arrangement the PERSIANS brought victuals to NISIBIS, and they cut down the gardens (or, plantations) which were round about it for the space of a bow shot, and they drove the Christians out of the city. Then the king wrote to MARCION ordering him to encamp round about the city without delay. And when he had done so he threw up mounds about it, and set up engines of war, and built high towers, and with very great trouble he captured the city. Then the king, for a reason which we will explain later, was wroth with MARCION, and he sent ACACIUS, a boorish and severe man to dismiss MARCION, and to put himself in his place. When ACACIUS came he seized MARCION and sent him to DARA. Now when the troops saw this they thought that the king was dead, and that, perhaps, another had by force made himself master of the RHOMAYE; they therefore forsook their tents and fled. And the PERSIANS went out from NISIBIS and plundered their camps.

When KESRU heard that the RHOMAYE had fled he came and seized the various engines for assaulting the city, and all the other armaments of war which the RHOMAYE had abandoned, and he encamped round about the city of DARA. And he made war upon it for six months and was unable to capture it. And he demanded from the inhabitants thereof five talents of gold so that he might depart from them. Now the Count whom he had sent with him (i.e. his envoy) did not inform them [of this]. Then KESRU became furiously angry, and by means of wooden erections the PERSIANS scaled the wall. The RHOMAYE fought for seven days, and did not permit one of the PERSIANS to come down into the city. Then KESRU said unto them, ‘Come, let us make peace, for behold a very large number of our men and yours have been killed’. And those wretched men, believing the oath of the PERSIANS, laid down their weapons, and the soldiers of both sides mingled together. And the PERSIANS laid their hands on the RHOMAYE and killed one hundred and fifty thousand souls, and they carried off ninety thousand into captivity. And they collected gold, about two hundred talents. Then KESRU said unto the governors of the RHOMAYE, ‘Ye fools, why did ye not give five talents out of this two hundred, and save all these souls?’ [84] And the RHOMAYE swore that the Count did not tell them that ‘ye demanded gold’. And when KESRU was certain that this was sO, he was wroth with the Count and put out his eyes.

And straightway KESRU sent ‘ADRAMON, the Warden of the Marches, and he looted and took BETH BALASH, and KENNESHRIN and the country of ANTIOCH. And because on a former occasion when the king of PERSIA came to APAMEA the people went forth to meet him, and he entered [the city], and saw the bishop, and did not harm the people, so now on this occasion when the Warden of the Marches came they went out to meet him arrayed in white apparel. And having entered the city with guile he plundered it and burned it. And he sent ninety-two (or, two hundred and ninety-two) thousand [of the people] to PERSIA. On this occasion KESRU selected two thousand virgins from among the captives, and he sent them together with their decorated apparel and ornaments to the TURKS who were in PERSIA. When these virgins arrived at a place which was five stations from the TURKS, and came to a great river, they decided that they preferred death to the destruction of the Faith of their souls and the purity of their bodies. And having grasped each other with the right hand they asked the Persian guards to withdraw from them so that they might bathe. Now these guards having been commanded to conduct the virgins with gentleness so that their beauty might not be marred, withdrew themselves. Then these chaste virgins having sealed their faces with the Sign of the Cross, cried out the Name of Christ, and cast themselves into that great river and were drowned. When the guards at the sound of their outcry saw that the virgins were drowning, they ran and struggled mightily, but they were not able to save one of them.

And when the king [of the RHOMAYE] heard that these things had taken place, he made ready to go down to the East, and because of the intensity of his cogitations he became mad (?) And ZECHARIAH was sent to KESRU [to arrange] a peace, and [he took] with him six hundred and fifty pounds (litre) of gold, for the peace was for one year only. And because his senses came back to him sometimes, and he wept and lamented about himself sorrowfully, the chiefs gave him advice. And he appointed a certain GREEK (IONIAN) scribe, whose name was TIBERIUS, a TARK, administrator of his kingdom, and proclaimed him CAESAR. At this time KESRU became arrogant “and puffed up with pride, and he came to ARMENIA, and marched directly to CAPPADOCIA so that he might capture CAESAREA. Then the RHOMAYE overtook (or, pursued) [the PERSIANS] in Mount BAGRUH, [85] and KESRU being thwarted in his purpose pretended that he was going to escape to his own country. And he went forth to SEBASTIA; and he also burned it with fire because the people fled from before him. And the RHOMAYE overtook him, and he forsook his papelion, that is to say, his royal tent, and all his treasure and fled. Then the RHOMAYE looted his camp and also his chapel for the worship of fire which they carried away in triumph. Meanwhile KESRU escaped to MELITENE, which he burned. And the RHOMAYE pursued him, and a very large number of his soldiers were drowned at the ford of the river PRATH (EUPHRATES), and only small numbera of them escaped.

And [KESRU] laid down a law that a king should not go forth to war except against a king. For the RHOMAYE had sent [a message] to him, saying. ‘We are [only] the servants of a king, and it would be a disgrace to us to go in like thieves and set fire [to places]; how very much more it is [a disgrace] to thee [to do this] who art a king?’ After these things, the RHOMAYE relying on their victory unsaddled their horses and they went away to feed. And behold, suddenly, certain SLAVS, that is to say scouts, came and said, ‘Behold the PERSIANS and KESRU are coming’. Now the RHOMAYE had set no sentries at all on guard, and wholly unexpectedly the army of the PERSIANS came upon them. And trembling fell upon the RHOMAYE. And they began to flee on foot, and the PERSIANS who pursued them cut them down (?), and they collected the weapons, and bridles and armour which the RHOMAYE cast away [when they] fled.

This is the cause of the anger of JUSTINIANUS against MARCION. At that time there were two parties among the TAYYAYE or ARABS; [that of] MUNDAR BAR-HERATH, who was a Christian and whose soldiers were Christians [and sided] with the RHOMAYE, and [that of] KABOZ, who [sided] with the PERSIANS. KABOZ having come against the Christian ARABS, seized all their flocks and their herds of camels, and departed. MUNDAR collected an army and marched against him and conquered [him], and he returned with vast quantities of rich spoil and camels. And KABOZ attacked him again, and was defeated, and he went to the PERSIANS to bring reinforcements. Then MUNDAR informed king JUSTINUS [of this], and demanded of him gold to give to the troops so that he might stand up against the PERSIANS. Then JUSTINUS determined to kill MUNDAR as if he had been the cause of the PERSIANS invading the land of the RHOMAYE. And he wrote to MARCION whilst he was encamped against NISIBIS, saying, ‘Behold, we have written to MUNDAR that he shall come to thee. Watch the moment when he cometh to thee [86] and take his head, and write to us.’ And, it is said, that he wrote two letters. The one to MARCION [saying that] MUNDAR was to be killed, and the other to MUNDAR [telling him] to go to MARCION and to hear from him concerning a certain matter which could not be written in a letter. Now the man of law (i.e. the scribe) wrote the two letters at the same time and sealed them. And by mistake he addressed the letter of MARCION to MUNDAR, and the letter of MUNDAR to MARCION, which therefore fell into the hands of MUNDAR. And MUNDAR was filled with wrath, and he made friends with the TAYYAYE (i.e. ARABS) of KABOZ, and they invaded together BETH RHOMAYE, and seized and burned [the country] as far as ANTIOCH. Now the king JUSTINUS thought that MARCION had informed MUNDAR [about his intention], and because of this he was angry with him and arrested him. And when the mind of King JUSTINUS returned to him, and he saw that the disease of retention of the urine was increasing in him, he summoned TIBERIUS CAESAR and he spake with him many remarkable (or, admirable) words under the guise of admonition and warning, and he said, ‘Understand what I have been and what thou art. Honour thy mother who is thy MISTRESS (or, Lady). All those who stand here are thy children. Have good care for the soldiers. Rejoice not in blood, and award not evil for evil. Let not the apparel and the proud rank of royalty lead thee astray as it has led me astray. And behold, though alive I shall be dismissed.’ [He spake] these and very many other [words] like unto them. TIBERIUS then cast himself down oa his face, and wept and plucked out his hair. And the king commanded and they raised him up. And with his own hands he arrayed him [in royal apparel] and crowned him with the crown. And he lived for nine days after these things, and he died in such great agony, through the retention of urine, and through his disease, that he shrieked and adjured those who were standing [there], saying, ‘Bring a sword and kill me’.